Springtime Reflections and Resolutions

May 10, 2012

As we ponder our future, it may also be timely not only to look at our personal lives but also to address our professional growth and maturation in a purposeful way.

This first quarter of the year, with the bloom of spring and ONS Congress behind us, is a time characterized by that unique personal dichotomy: looking back and looking forward. It entails and requires reflection on the most recent past, having a critical eye for the good and bad, challenges and opportunities, lessons learned, and continued extensions of stress and demands. The new year also frequently involves making lists of good intentions, goals, and a plethora of “to do” items.

As we ponder our future, it may also be timely not only to look at our personal lives but also to address our professional growth and maturation in a purposeful way. Perhaps we should all be asking ourselves these questions:

• What do I do well and what do I need to work on in my role as an oncology nurse?

• What clinical skill or nursing topic do I feel I need help with or should learn more about? Where and with whom would I access this education?

• Who would be a good mentor for me as I ponder my own trajectory of lifelong learning?

• What interpersonal skill should I polish to improve my interactions with my coworkers and with my patients and families?

• What is a major stressor in my workplace that requires group discussion and intervention planning?

• How can we as a work-group address compassion fatigue, our psychosocial distress as nurses, and our cumulative grief?

• What strategies can I integrate into my lifestyle to take better care of myself?

• What measures of success must I remain cognizant of as I reflect on my nursing work?

I believe we all have a personal responsibility to undertake such an inventory at least annually, if not more frequently. By doing so, we can create a good foundation for positive change, for creativity, and for connectivity, an imperative in this chaotic world of healthcare. As the field of oncology continues to evolve and expand, so must we be increasingly willing to continually expand our knowledge and skills within our chosen specialty. We must keep in sync with this paradigm of rapid transformation.

-Deborah A. Boyle